|By Pat O'Day||
|October 25, 2011 10:30 AM EDT||
Battles over formats and standards in the technology industry aren't new. Whether it was e-mail, word processing, graphical images or even some more current like the apps on your smart phone, each new innovation typically starts out somewhat proprietary and incompatible.
Today we live in a world where a lot of those battles have been fought and won while some are only starting to heat up. Formats tend to resolve themselves through standards so that things like e-mail and web pages "just work." That or at a minimum the technology we use evolves and hides it all from us via various forms of automatic conversion. In a world where so many technologies seem to get along - why shouldn't clouds? The answer isn't so simple and, as is often the case, history has a way of repeating itself.
Just as email initially emerged inside of private datacenters, so has cloud infrastructure. It was initially based on virtualization technology and, depending on what kind of IT shop was involved, you most likely ended up on VMware if you were trying to make your core datacenter more efficient by virtualizing legacy servers; Xen if you had a significant Linux or Java developer presence where the need to rapidly provision test and develop machines was important; and maybe even Citrix if you were using Metaframe for serving up applications to remote users or thin clients. For some companies, cloud adoption started outside the corporate datacenter inside of the VMware vCloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS).
These approaches initially evolved into distinctly different virtualization technologies. VMware's vSphere platform grew up in the heart of enterprise data centers so it focuses more on performance, manageability, stability and uptime. Amazon's platform is directed at rapid provisioning of instances that are great for developers and dynamic workloads. While they both promote the concept of virtual machines as the building blocks of their clouds, the formats are very different. Amazon breaks its workloads into images called Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), which contain an operating system image from a limited library, memory and CPU resources. VMware uses a format called a Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) that contains not only the memory, but also a more flexible operating system image that can be based on any x86 and, as you can tell by the name, the disk storage itself. With Amazon's AMI model, any additional storage outside of the operating system image must be kept on a separate disk image on the network using either their S3 or EBS storage solutions. With VMware's VMDK, because the disk is included, you can move everything around. They call this a vApp.
It also goes without saying that the war for cloud market share has started and is being waged in earnest. Given the amount of dollars at stake, it makes complete sense. The major players all want their share of the anticipated $241 billion that corporations are predicted to spend in the cloud over the next 9 years (according to Forrester Research). This kind of growth opportunity resembles a land grab of significant size and proportion that fosters only self-serving forms of compatibility.
History Will Repeat Itself
As we now know from the email platform wars, once the bulk of companies picked their initial email standard to implement, the green fields of opportunity started to dry up. As a result, email platform vendors found themselves in a situation where they could only gain market share by taking customers away from each other. This caused them to start offering various forms of migration services. The initial offerings were assistance with your email strategy, which was closely followed by professional services teams that could perform the migration for you. At some point, the professional services teams developed tools to make the migrations easier and those tools ended up being packaged and offered directly to end users.
We are starting to see this trend emerge in the cloud. Most Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have either a toolkit or a professional service offering that helps customers migrate from one SaaS provider to another. You can see this with Salesforce and Netsuite. VMware and Amazon are no exception. Amazon offers a tool that allows you to convert your VMDK virtual machines into AMI images. VMware has an extensive professional services offering and numerous channel partners that can help an Amazon customer migrate to a vCloud or back to their internal VMware vSphere environment if a customer found themselves locked in to the Amazon cloud.
Interoperability and Open Standards
It's clear that more help is on the way, but there may be some solutions that can help in the short term. The Distributed Management Task Force, also known as the DMTF, is a standards body that represents 160 member companies and organizations and more than 4,000 active participants crossing 43 countries. They have endorsed and are actively promoting the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) standard for Virtual Machines(VMs) and Virtual Applications (vApps). OVF support is the foundation of the VMware vCloud and VMware vSphere 4.1. Workloads can be quickly converted to OVF and then moved or copied between clouds as the needs dictate. This gives the IT department and power users the ultimate flexibility as they begin to adopt a cloud-enabled approach to IT.
Which One Is Best
Choosing the best cloud platform is a lot like deciding to upgrade from a tube television to a flat screen. It can be hard to choose when you see all of the different flat screen television technologies like DLP,LED, Plasma and LCD but once you've made the leap to High Definition, regardless of which technology you chose, it still puts you light years ahead of where you were with your old TV set.
How to Choose
The most important thing is to determine what the right use cases are for your organization to adopt cloud. For some companies that may be to make their existing IT resources more agile and efficient so placing some of the workloads they have already virtualized using VMware into a public vCloud make the most sense. For other companies that may need to perform thousands of calculations on a moment's notice, consuming that capacity from a commodity cloud like Amazon's EC2 might be the best fit. The real key is that this landscape is evolving and changing rapidly. Any workload placed into the cloud should conform to existing IT practices and should be able to be de-provisioned, redirected or moved as the cloud market matures and the understanding of which clouds best fit which workloads becomes clearer.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
Mar. 5, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 3,906
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS soluti...
Mar. 5, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 1,264
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
Mar. 5, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 4,507
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and ex...
Mar. 5, 2015 01:30 AM EST Reads: 3,665
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
Mar. 5, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 4,534
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize sup...
Mar. 5, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 3,634
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
Mar. 5, 2015 12:15 AM EST Reads: 3,781
Red Hat has launched the Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice, a new global team of experts that will assist companies with more quickly on-ramping to the cloud. They will do this by providing solutions and services such as validated designs with reference architectures and agile methodology consulting, training, and support. The Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice is born out of the integration of technology and engineering expertise gained through the company’s 2014 acquisitions of leading Ceph s...
Mar. 4, 2015 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,003
Docker has acquired software-defined networking (SDN) startup SocketPlane. SocketPlane, which was founded in Q4, 2014, with a vision of delivering Docker-native networking, has been an active participant in shaping the initial efforts around Docker’s open API for networking. The explicit focus of the SocketPlane team within Docker will be on collaborating with the partner community to complete a rich set of networking APIs that addresses the needs of application developers and network and system...
Mar. 4, 2015 11:00 PM EST Reads: 843
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, will answer that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities f...
Mar. 4, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 981
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along...
Mar. 4, 2015 09:00 PM EST Reads: 7,109
FedRAMP is mandatory for government cloud deployments and businesses need to comply in order to provide services for federal engagements. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Abel Sussman, Director for Coalfire Public Sector practice, will review the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) process and provide advice on overcoming common compliance obstacles.
Mar. 4, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,570
The cloud is now a fact of life but generating recurring revenues that are driven by solutions and services on a consumption model have been hard to implement, until now. In their session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss how a top European telco has leveraged the innovative recurring revenue generating capability of the consumption cloud to enable a unique cloud monetization mod...
Mar. 4, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,924
Are your applications getting in the way of your business strategy? It’s time to rethink your IT approach. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Madhukar Kumar, Vice President, Product Management at Liaison Technologies, will discuss a new data-centric approach to IT that allows your data, not applications, to inform business strategy. By moving away from an application-centric IT model where data integration and analysis are subservient to the constraints of applications, your organization will b...
Mar. 4, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,630
As organizations shift toward IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection &E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships, will disc...
Mar. 4, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,066
Analytics is the foundation of smart data and now, with the ability to run Hadoop directly on smart storage systems like Cloudian HyperStore, enterprises will gain huge business advantages in terms of scalability, efficiency and cost savings as they move closer to realizing the potential of the Internet of Things. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, technology evangelist and CMO at Cloudian, Inc., will discuss the revolutionary notion that the storage world is transitioning from me...
Mar. 4, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,026
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Mar. 4, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,403
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Mar. 4, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 2,578
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will demonstrate the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He will discuss from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT ...
Mar. 4, 2015 04:45 PM EST Reads: 2,388
The free version of KEMP Technologies' LoadMaster™ application load balancer is now available for unlimited use, making it easy for IT developers and open source technology users to benefit from all the features of a full commercial-grade product at no cost. It can be downloaded at FreeLoadBalancer.com. Load balancing, security and traffic optimization are all key enablers for application performance and functionality. Without these, application services will not perform as expected or have the...
Mar. 4, 2015 04:15 PM EST Reads: 871